13 Best Dog Foods for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

By Kevin Myers | 2023 Update

Do you happen to own the ‘Greatest Duck Dog in the World’?

That is a fitting title for your Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

Chessies are known as the All-American Dog because they are one of the first breeds to originate in the US. They have the resilience to survive the extreme cold of the northern states and the summers of the south.

Aside from resilience, Chessies are also known for their intelligence. They are intelligent, active, playful, and they are obedient. But as I always say, if you want your dog to stay true to its breed, watch what you feed.

So, it’s all about your Chesapeake Bay Retriever and its diet. Based on your Chessie’s needs, I have created a list of the best dog foods for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.

Let’s dive in…

The Best Dog Foods for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

Top PicksTop Ingredients
1. American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Dog Food
(Best For Adults)
Deboned Salmon, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Peas, Sweet Potatoes
2. Merrick Puppy Chicken & Sweet Potato Dog Food
(Best For Puppies)
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Salmon Meal
3. Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food
(Best For Seniors
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Sorghum, Whole Oats, Whole Brown Rice
4. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Chicken Canned Food
(Best Wet Meal)
Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Carrots, Peas
5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Dog Food
(Best Premium Option)
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Pea Protein, Tapioca Starch
6. Purina ONE Natural Weight Control Dog Food
(Best For Weight Loss)
Turkey, Rice Flour, Soybean Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Oat Meal
7. Nutro LID Sensitive Support Real Lamb Dog Food
(Best For Sensitivities)
Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Chickpeas, Dried Potatoes, Dried Sweet Potato
8. Purina Pro Plan 30/20 Chicken & Rice Dog Food
(Best For Active Dogs)
Chicken, Corn Gluten Meal, Rice, Beef Fat, Whole Grain Corn

American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Dog Food

Best Overall, Best For Adults

Ratings:

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Salmon, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Turkey Meal, 4. Peas, 5. Sweet Potatoes

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,740 kcal
  • Form: Dry

This salmon-based formula has a balanced ratio of fat to protein to keep your Chessie healthy, active, and strong. Plus, you get additional fatty acids from flaxseed and sunflower oil to keep your Chessie’s coat in top condition.

Sweet potato and peas provide digestible carbohydrates for energy. This recipe is what’s known as a LID or Limited Ingredient Diet. That means it has fewer ingredients that can cause allergies or stomach and digestive upset. 

Analysis: Protein (min.) 32%, Fat (min.) 14%, Fiber (max.) 5%, Moisture (max.) 10%


Merrick Puppy Chicken & Sweet Potato Dog Food

Best For Puppies

Ratings:

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Sweet Potatoes, 4. Potatoes, 5. Salmon Meal

  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,680 kcal
  • Form: Dry

Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppies thrive on this grain-free chicken recipe by Merrick. With potato and sweet potato in the first five ingredients, your little Chessie will get a lot of healthy carbs essential for energy and healthy growth.

This formula also contains a healthy dose of DHA, which is essential for the cognitive development of puppies.

Analysis: Protein (min.) 28% | Fat (min.) 16% | Fiber (max.) 4.5% | Moisture (max.) 11%


Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food

Best For Seniors

Ratings:

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Whole Grain Sorghum, 4. Whole Grain Oats, 5. Whole Grain Brown Rice

  • Life Stage: Senior
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,385 kcal
  • Form: Dry

Nutro Ultra Holistic Superfood Blend is what it sounds like it is, a great recipe full of superfoods. Superfoods are a great source of antioxidants that kill free radicals. That is what your dog needs to prevent health problems that come with aging.

This recipe is a good blend of micro-ingredients and healthy fiber to ensure proper absorption. It’s an excellent recipe for any Chessie.

Analysis: Protein min. 26% | Fat min. 13%, | Fiber max. 4% | Moisture max. 10%


Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Chicken Dinner Canned Food

Best Wet Meal

Ratings:

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Broth, 3. Chicken Liver, 4. Carrots, 5. Peas

  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 1,190 kcal
  • Form: Wet

BLUE Buffalo Homestyle Recipe is another delicious option to get your Chessie’s tail wagging at every meal. 

This nutrition-rich recipe ensures the healthy physical and mental growth of your Chessie pup. Free of fillers like corn and soy, each can of this diet provides powerful poultry proteins.

Other ingredients such as carrot, peas, barley, and brown rice add all the minerals and vitamins your puppy needs, and superfoods like cranberries supply antioxidants for a healthy immune system.

Analysis: Protein (min.) 10% | Fat (min.) 7.5% | Fiber (max.) 1.3% | Moisture (max.) 78% 


Nom Nom Chicken Cuisine

Best Fresh Option

Ratings:

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Diced chicken, 2. sweet potatoes, 3. squash, 4, spinach, 5. sunflower oil

  • Life Stage: All
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 1,255 kcal
  • Form: Frozen

Nom Nom is the perfect choice for owners who strive to feed their Chessie the purest and most nutritious diet possible. The company offers ready-to-serve fresh food meals tailored to your dog’s age, breed, activity levels, and health history. Each meal plan is prepared according to AAFCO standards using human-grade ingredients such as diced chicken, sweet potatoes, squash, and spinach.

Nom Nom is highly nutritious, yet it appeals to the fussiest eaters while keeping your dog at an ideal weight. Your dog will also experience improved digestion, have more energy throughout the day, and no longer have allergies or sensitivity problems. Even though the food costs significantly more than dry food, it’s perfect for owners who want Chesapeake Bay Retrievers to reach peak athleticism. 

Analysis: Protein (min.) 8.5% | Fat (min.) 6% | Fiber (max.) 1% | Moisture (max.) 77%


Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Grain-Free Dog Food

Best Premium Option

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Pea Protein, 5. Tapioca Starch

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,599 kcal
  • Form: Dry

This Blue Buffalo recipe includes tons of animal protein based on a dog’s ancestral diet. If your Chessie leans towards a large-sized breed and is very active, this one is my top recommendation.

What I love about Blue Buffalo is the patented LifeSource Bits, i.e., a unique blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Your baby will stay strong, active, and healthy. I also love that it has plenty of glucosamine, which is essential for large-sized Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, who are more prone to joint issues.

Analysis: Protein min. 34% | Fat min. 15%, | Fiber max. 6% | Moisture max. 10%


Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dog Food

Best Budget Option

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Buffalo, 2. Lamb Meal, 3. Chicken Meal, 4. Sweet Potatoes, 5. Peas

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,719 kcal
  • Form: Dry

There can’t be the best dog foods list without at least one Taste of the Wild recipe. And High Prairie is generally an option I trust. Even for large breed Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, High Prairie has the perfect ratio of fat and proteins.

It includes peas and potatoes to meet the needs of a highly active or athletic Chessie.  What’s more: Each bag of High Prairie has a strain of K9 probiotic, a proprietary blend to take care of your baby’s tummy.

Analysis: Protein min. 32% | Fat min. 18%, | Fiber max. 4% | Moisture max. 10%


Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Dog Food

Best For Weight Gain

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Tapioca

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 4,427 kcal
  • Form: Dry

This food from Nature’s Variety is another raw food option on the list with a perfect ratio of fat to protein.  Instinct by Nature’s Variety Raw Boost recipe is a grain-free option that is best for active Chessies with an athletic build.

It has everything your baby needs to look gorgeous and stay healthy. It is full of omega fatty acids and antioxidants. Moreover, there is a boost of probiotics to ensure smooth and trouble-free digestion. Not to mention, it is free of additives, grains, soy, corn, and peas.

Analysis: Protein (min.) 37% | Fat (min.) 20.5% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 9%


Purina ONE Natural Weight Control +Plus Dog Food

Best For Weight Loss

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Turkey, 2. Rice Flour, 3. Soybean Meal, 4. Corn Gluten Meal, 5. Oat Meal

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,346 kcal
  • Form: Dry

If your Chesapeake retriever has gained excess weight and refuses to eat a new diet, perhaps the Purina One Natural Weight Control Dog Food is a good choice. One of the reasons this food appeals to picky eaters is that it contains freeze-dried meat bites along with regular kibble. These meaty morsels taste delicious and give your dog a boost of amino acids. 

The recipe is designed with fibers like oatmeal and whole wheat to promote weight loss. These fibers offer loads of energy and pass through the system without accumulating in the form of fat. It also provides glucosamine to reduce the risk of joint complications and antioxidants to make your Chessie more resilient against diseases. It’s also rounded off with essential vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients.

Analysis: Protein min. 27% | Fat min. 8%, | Fiber max. 12% | Moisture max. 5.5% 


Natural Balance LID Sweet Potato and Venison Dog Food

Best For Sensitive Stomach

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Sweet Potatoes, 2. Venison, 3. Pea Protein, 4. Potato Protein, 5. Canola Oil

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,340 kcal
  • Form: Dry

This sweet potato and venison recipe is a bowl full of health and happiness for your Chessie. It is a limited ingredient grain-free formula with healthy proteins and carbs.

Plus, there are plenty of fatty acids because of the flaxseed in this recipe. It is indeed one of the lightest foods for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers with sensitive tummies. Plus, it is free of all known allergens, including grains and additives.

Analysis: Protein (min.) 20% | Fat (min.) 10% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 10%


Nutro LID Sensitive Support Real Lamb & Sweet Potato Dog Food

Best For Allergies

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Lamb, 2. Lamb Meal, 3. Chickpeas, 4. Dried Potatoes, 5. Dried Sweet Potato

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,635 kcal
  • Form: Dry

Even though the oily coat of a Chessie rarely triggers allergy in humans, the breed itself is susceptible to food allergies. We recommend Nutro LID Sensitive Support Dog Food for such canines. The food combines lamb meat and sweet potatoes, both excellent sources of amino acids and sugars that promote muscle repair and high energy levels. 

It’s free from all foods known to cause allergy in canines, including grains, dairy protein, chicken, beef, corn, wheat, and soy. This recipe contains essential vitamins and minerals for strengthening immunity and optimal bone health.  After switching, your dog will develop a softer and shinier coat and experience improved quality of life.

Analysis: Protein min. 20% | Fat min. 14%, | Fiber max. 3.5% | Moisture max. 10%


Primal Chicken Formula Nuggets Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Best For Picky Eaters

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Livers, 3. Organic Carrots, 4. Organic Squash, 5. Organic Kale

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per oz): 127 kcal
  • Form: Freeze-Dried

Chesapeake retrievers are sporting dogs to their core, and it’s only deserving that they eat a diet crafted for hunting breeds, such as Purina Pro Plan 30/20 Dog Food. The formula features a 30% protein to 20% fat ratio, ideal for athletic dogs that need a muscular physique and more-than-average energy.

To develop this macronutrient ratio, the company uses premium-quality ingredients such as deboned chicken and beef fat that add a ton of flavor. Apart from that, the recipe provides probiotics to promote healthy gut bacteria and reduce instances of diarrhea. It features DHA and omega fatty acids to give your Chessie a healthy coat and skin.

Analysis: Protein min. 47% | Fat min. 25%, | Fiber max. 3% | Moisture max. 6%


Purina Pro Plan 30/20 Chicken & Rice Dog Food

Best For Active Dogs

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Corn Gluten Meal, 3. Rice, 4. Beef Fat, 5. Whole Grain Corn

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 4,390 kcal
  • Form: Dry

Chesapeake retrievers are sporting dogs to their core, and it’s only deserving that they eat a diet crafted for hunting breeds, such as Purina Pro Plan 30/20 Dog Food. The formula features a 30% protein to 20% fat ratio, ideal for athletic dogs that need a muscular physique and more-than-average energy.

To develop this macronutrient ratio, the company uses premium-quality ingredients such as deboned chicken and beef fat that add a ton of flavor. Apart from that, the recipe has probiotics that promote gut bacteria and reduce instances of diarrhea. It features DHA and omega fatty acids to make your Chessie brighter and appear healthier.

Analysis: Protein min. 30% | Fat min. 20%, | Fiber max. 3% | Moisture max. 12%

Related:

Best Dog Foods for Chesapeake Bay Retriever Buyer’s Guide

Now you know the answers to all the questions you had in your mind, let’s get into a little more detail. As I always say, the more you know your dog’s need, the better you can choose for them.

So, let’s start with their needs.

Your Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s Dietary Needs

While Chesapeake is a medium-sized breed, you will find more people treating it as a large breed. Size may be one reason, but I think it’s also because of how much they eat. A grown adult male can eat around five bowls a day. It is best to keep it divided into three to two meals a day. Females might eat less, but it can still be around three bowls a day.

For puppies, they must be eating high-quality puppy food at least three times a day. They need more calories than adults because they are more active and playful.

Speaking of calories, while an adult needs around 1500 calories a day, puppies will need about 2000 calories. Keep in mind that those calories should come from meat sources.

Ingredients to Look for

As I said, you need to look for healthy balanced dog food for your Chessie. First and foremost, you need to look for a healthy balance of fat and proteins. Depending on how active your dog is, the fat content should be between 8 to 10 percent, while proteins should be more than 20 percent.

More on Fat and Proteins

Sources of fats and proteins are more important than the ratio. Make sure the proteins come from real meat. Novel protein sources such as rabbit, kangaroos, venison, and buffalo are just a few examples. While these options come with a heftier price tag, they provide all the essential nutrients along with supplemental ingredients that can prevent common diseases in your Chessie.

Glucosamine 

Although there are plenty of healthy ingredients besides the essential ones, glucosamine is the one I mainly look for in any best dog food for Chesapeake Bay Retriever. That is because this one ingredient can take care of my baby’s joints and bones better than any other component.

Omega 3 and Omega 6 

Your Chessie is susceptible to a few diseases related to skin and coat. Their curly coat, if too dry, can get tangled and will make your baby look messy. It is also a cause of discomfort for the dog, and it becomes difficult to keep a tangled coat clean.

Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are like magic potions for your dog’s coat and skin. They also keep skin allergies at bay. Fish like cod and salmon are good sources of fatty acids.

DHA 

Docosahexaenoic Acid or DHA is another supplemental ingredient that is good for your Chessie’s wellbeing. Since the breed is susceptible to certain eye-related diseases such as progressive retinal atrophy, a healthy balance of DHA in the diet will keep the risks low for your pal.

Prebiotics 

Prebiotics help you keep your baby’s tummy free of troubles. They maintain healthy gut bacteria to ensure easy digestion and better metabolism. You can find dog food with prebiotics or sprinkle a prebiotic supplement of regular food.

Ingredients to Avoid

The first thing that you need to avoid for your Chesapeake Bay Retriever is bad carbs. Bad carbs come from sources such as soy, corn, wheat, and ingredients that have little nutritional value otherwise. These ingredients are also common allergens and can cause digestive problems.

Here I would like to mention that carbohydrates are still important to your dog. So look for healthier sources such as potatoes and sweet potatoes instead.

Other ingredients you need to avoid are additives – be it artificial color or artificial flavor.

Lastly, try to avoid any dog food that is overly processed or doesn’t have real animal meat as the first ingredient. It is why I usually recommend raw diet options such as freeze-dried dog food for Chessies. But you have to make sure you are following the proper method to help your baby transition from processed to raw.

Watching Weight

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are active, but many aren’t busy enough to burn all the calories they consume. It is not exactly uncommon to find a Chesapeake Bay Retriever slightly on the heavier side. A study conducted in 2016 stated that nearly 45 % of adult dogs suffer from obesity.

You need to make sure you aren’t listening to your dog when it comes to the quantity of their food. Instead of measuring bowls, keep an eye on the calories consumed.

Keep a regular check on your dog’s weight. Place your hands on your dog’s belly while its standing and see if you can feel its ribs. If yes, then there is nothing to worry about. If no, then you need to make your baby work out a bit while switching to different dog food with more protein and less fat.

Now you know all there is to know about Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and their diet. It is time to take a look at the rest of the best dog foods for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. Keep reading, and you will find several good raw options as well.


Chesapeake Bay Retriever Dog Food FAQs

Now before we move ahead towards the rest of my top picks for your Chesapeake Bay Retriever, let me answer some of the questions you might have on your mind.

What should I feed my Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

Like most dogs, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers do well on meat proteins. While chicken and lamb are good options, novel proteins like duck, venison, and salmon are better for their overall health. Ideally, their meal should have at least 20 percent protein and 10 percent fat.

Does a Chesapeake Bay Retriever need a large-breed dog food?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers can be classified into middle or large breed dog depending on how big they grow. Some remain under 22 inches while others can grow up to 27 inches. However, most do well on large-breed dog foods as they need more protein to stay healthy and energetic.

How much should a Chesapeake Bay Retriever eat?

Chessies have a good appetite. A female requires around three bowls of quality dog food a day while an adult male Chessie will eat approximately five bowls. It is fine as long as your pet isn’t getting fat. However, this meal should be divided into three meals a day.

Can Chesapeake Bay Retriever become obese?

Yes, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever loves to eat, and it can eat more than it should. If their routine does not involve regular exercise, they won’t be able to burn all those calories. Obesity can lead to numerous other health issues.

How many calories does Chesapeake Bay Retriever need in a day?

Young Chesapeake Bay Retrievers need around 2000-2500 calories a day, but as their activity level decreases with age, 1500 calories are enough for them. Seniors can become even less active, and they might need 1200 calories or fewer.

Is Chesapeake Bay Retriever hypoallergenic?

No, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are not hypoallergenic because they shed a lot. They may not shed as much as fluffier large breed dogs, but they still shed enough to cause allergies.

Do Chesapeake Bay Retrievers have a sensitive tummy?

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are just as sensitive as other breeds. While they do not particularly have sensitive tummies, they are susceptible to bloating, indigestion, and stomach infections – if their food isn’t of the best quality.

Can food make my Chesapeake Bay Retriever lose hair?

According to a study, Chesapeake Retrievers are prone to hair loss as they grow old. However, the problem has little to do with diet as it is a hormonal issue. Ingredients such as additives and GMOs can often aggravate the problem.

Is a raw diet good for Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

Yes, Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a reasonably large breed that requires the right balance of protein and fat. Raw diets offer the best balance of these two essential nutrients. Just make sure you are getting the best raw dog food for your pet.

Is grain-free dog food good for Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

Dogs are omnivores by nature, and their diet does include some grains. However, most dog foods have low-quality grains that can cause allergies and trigger sensitivities. So, either choose grain-free for your Chesapeake Bay Retriever or go for food with quality grains such as brown rice.

Which ingredient is bad for Chesapeake Bay Retriever?

Avoid ingredients that have little or no nutritional value for your Chessie, which includes any kind of artificial additives such as coloring and flavor. Also, avoid filler ingredients such as soy, corn, and husk.

Does Chesapeake Bay Retriever need a lot of fat in the diet?

Depending on the activity level, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever may need dog food with around 8 t 10 percent fat from quality sources. Fat is what converts into energy your dog needs to enjoy an active lifestyle.

How long does Chesapeake Bay Retriever live?

A healthy Chesapeake Bay Retriever on a balanced diet can live up to 12 years. The breed is susceptible to hip dysplasia in later years but proper diet and supplements can help them enjoy a good life despite health issues.

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